On Saturday, September 15th I returned to Red Rocks Amphitheatre eager for another full day of great music. On today's card: Art Brut, Spoon, Matt + Kim, Flaming Lips, Au Revoir Simone, and YACHT. Here's a quick rundown of my thoughts, which will be soon revised into a longer and more complete entry.
Art Brut won the day with their crowd-pleasing late afternoon set on the main stage. Frontman Eddie Argos is a joy to watch, and the band provides a more accomplished sound than their seemingly pedestrian songs hint at. Au Revoir Simone's set was coy keyboard bliss, and they provided what may have been the weekend's most endearing moment when they invited their young cousins up on stage to dance along to "Sad Songs" (if I recall correctly). Matt and Kim seemed to be the happiest people on Earth during their set. A bass-heavy sound mix could not deter the enthusiam from spilling over into the crowd. Cloud Cult sounded great for a band I know next to nothing about, and I will certainly look into their catalog in the near future. Spoon were better than I remember (from about 3/4 years ago) and sounded great, but were in retrospect nothing to write home about during a long weekend of music. The Flaming Lips put on an amazing spectacle, but their sonic contribution didn't match the visual wonder and I left halfway through the set to go see YACHT. YACHT was playing to a room of about 20 people who did their best to make him feel welcome as he sang and danced to his laptop beats and faught with the sound guys. Brian Jonestown Massacre played lackluster, dated rock to a crowd waiting for a fight to break out amongst the band. The mild bickering I heard almost sounded rehearsed. Local Denver band Nathan and Stephan put on a great show on the small Rock Room stage. Indianapolis natives Margot and the Nuclear So and So's presented themselves as a good-natured indie 9-piece who has yet to realize their sonic potential, but could be headed in the right direction. Earl Greyhound played loud, funk metal that attracted a large audience but didn't mesh with my tastes. Just when I thought I was a live hip-hop hater (after Friday's abysmal Kid Sister set), Lords of the Underground showed me just how fun and exhilarating rap stage veterans can be. Knowing nothing about the band, I caught the Swayback's final song and it sounded terrific enough to excite me about their music and prospects.
Previously unknown bands to explore: The Swayback, Nathan + Stephan, Cloud Cult, Lords of the Underground, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
Personal Highlight of the Day: A group of guys saluted my Modern Lovers T-shirt as I left the Brian Jonestown Massacre set to seek better music. I found out seconds later that this group of guys was Art Brut.